Tag Archives: French Horse Riding Holidays

Why should you book a French riding holiday in June? Here are 3 excellent reasons…

Riding holidays in France
A bee orchid

There’s something very special about the Lot Valley in June.

The fields are bursting with colour and life, and the temperature is balmy. So, here are three excellent reasons to book your riding holiday in France then:

  1. You’ll spot beautiful orchids

Plant-lovers will be amazed at the range of wild flowers in bloom in Lot during June. The area is famed for its wild orchids including:

Military orchid – a small, purple orchid which blooms on the roadside in the Lot Valley. Look out for this from mid-May onwards.

Greater butterfly orchid – lovely white flowers which look like small butterflies, growing in a V formation. They love sunny woodlands.

Lesser butterfly orchid – a beautiful white orchid found in wooded areas and blooming from May onwards. Can be distinguished from the greater version because the flowers are parallel.

Woodcock orchid – grows on verges and roadsides and is often mistaken for the larger bee orchid.

Bee orchid – a soft, pink flower which is seen in meadows and pastures in June.

Man orchid – a rare bloom found in the High Causse and in flower in June.

Red helleborine – grows on the edge of woods and flowers between April and June. Look for these flowers in the Foret de Braunhie.

Dark red helleborine – a rare flower which comes into bloom in late June. Look for it in rocky limestone in the High Causse.

Chalk fragrant orchid – a pink flower with a lovely scent, look for it in grasslands in June.

Common spotted orchid – flowers well into June. This flower loves chalk grasslands so look for them in fields and meadows.

Frog orchid – a rare bloom with a green-brown colour which makes it hard to spot. Look for it in open woodlands and fens throughout June and July.

Heath spotted orchid – a flower found on acidic soils including peat bogs and marshy pastures which is seen in June.

Bird’s nest orchid – lives in leaf litter in beech woodland and comes into flower in May and June.

  1. You’ll enjoy pleasant weather

It won’t be too hot during your visit in June. The average temperature high is 25C and a night-time low of 12C. So, riding will be warm and comfortable – you won’t face searing temperatures. Plus, you’ll also be able to sleep well at night.

There is also an average of eight hours of sunshine a day. The climate here in June is balmy.

  1. You’ll see amazing butterflies and birds

The proliferation of wild flowers mean Lot has many butterfly and moth species which you could see in June. Look out for rare Swallowtails, Meadow Fritillaries, Glanville, the Adonis Blue, and the Provencal Short-tailed Blue in limestone country including the Causse. In forests, you may see the Camberwell Beauty, Lesser Purple Emperor, Cardinal, and Southern White Admiral.

The number of insect species also attracts a large number of birds – perfect for any ornithologist. Look out for a hoopoe, short-toed eagle, marsh harriers, kites, buzzards, and black redstarts.

Are you ready to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of Lot in June? Click here to book your riding holiday in France.

 

 

Meet the Normandy Cob on your riding holiday in France – a horse with bags of personality!

Horse riding holidays in France
Dunka and Bamboo, our Normandy Cobs

If you’re looking for a calm, willing horse which is also athletic and energetic, why not ride a Normandy Cob?

They are hardy French horses which resemble thoroughbreds with a more robust frame, and they are popular for driving and riding.

In fact, in 2011 more than 33% of the horses in the French driving championships were Normandy Cobs.

They are famed for the length of their striding trots, and their stud book records seal brown, chestnut, and bay colourings. Official records for the breed have been kept for almost 70 years – the first stud book was produced in 1950.

The breed was used by the French military to pull artillery and by the French postal service to deliver and pick up mail. The cob was also used widely in agriculture in Northern France.

It originated in Normandy as a cross between the small horses of the area, the bidets, and the Carrossier Normand, a now-extinct breed of carriage horse which was widely seen in the early 20th Century.

While other breeds were threatened by mechanisation in agriculture and other industries, Normandy Cob breeders crossed their horses with thoroughbreds and that contributed to the French national saddle horse breed, the Selle Français.

In the 1980s, breeders worked hard to stem the threat of inbreeding and genetic drift to ensure the Normandy Cob had a bright future. Now, they can be seen in different parts of France, especially in Calvados, Manche, and Orne.

Normandy Cobs are hugely popular for all sorts of equestrian pursuits because they are calm and have winning personalities.

What does a typical Normandy Cob look like?

These elegant horses generally stand between 15.25 hands and 16.35 hands high, and weigh between 550kg and 900kg.

There are large variations in weight and height throughout the breed, though, caused by the different uses for the horses.

Look for a square profile and a short back, a head with good proportions, a convex or straight facial profile, wide nostrils, and small ears.

Normandy Cobs have a deep chest, broad, angled shoulders, muscular, short legs, and powerful hindquarters. They have round, strong feet and shed their shaggy winter coats in Spring.

The most popular Normandy Cob colourings include bays with white markings, chestnut, and seal brown.

Bamboo is schooledMeet our Normandy Cobs…

Dunka – Standing at 16.3 hands high, Dunka will be five this year. She is gentle, friendly, and loves to have fun. Our visitors adore her!

Bamboo – He will be four this year, and is a typical example of the calm, friendly Normandy Cob. Bamboo stands at 17 hands high, so is a large example of the breed. He is very popular with our riders.

Would you like to meet our Normandy Cobs in person? They’re ideal horses to develop your riding skills because they’re calm and friendly. Book your French riding holiday today. You can contact us here.

Bamboo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to improve your riding or horse-handling skills? Discover our week-long intensive training course

Riding holidays in France
Get closer to horses and learn valuable skills with our intensive training

Have you hankered after a week-long experience which would allow you to spend as much time as possible with horses?

If so, our intensive training week would be an ideal experience for you. It’s back by popular demand in 2018 after two courses in May and September 2017 and will help you learn about horse care, bonding with your horse, and riding skills.

For the week starting May 5, 2018, we’re offering you our all-inclusive, bespoke intensive riding workshop holiday.

Alongside the long, leisurely rides for which Château de Laumière is famed, you’ll receive a one-to-one training programme which we tailor specially to your individual needs.

You’ll be able to spend the entire day handling and working with horses.

This is ideal for riders who want to learn more or those who want to improve their confidence.

For some riders, a fall or a scare can knock that confidence in the saddle.

Our highly-qualified riding instructor Tanya will help you overcome your fears. She is calm, sympathetic, and has years of experience.

The intensive course will give you valuable skills including:

  • Groundwork – the basis of riding and handling skills, with lunging, join-up, long-lining, and work on the ground.
  • Dressage – our manege is the perfect place to learn and hone dressage skills, especially if you’re interested in competitions.
  • Jumping – always wanted to jump but have never learned how? Perhaps you need a refresher after a break of several years. Come to our intensive course where our experienced instructor will show you what you need to know.

Whatever you need, we’ll tailor our course to help you. It’s all about helping you to enjoy horses and riding.

Our course is for all levels of rider, not just those who are very experienced, and you can attend whether you own your own horse or not.

It’s about developing your skills the way you want to take them. Whatever you want to do more of, we’ll help you achieve that.

We’ll be offering the usual morning ride, with intensive sessions in the afternoons.

Our intensive training week always starts with Tanya discussing the group’s needs, them formulating the training.

You’ll enjoy the beautiful countryside, riding trails free of traffic, authentic local cuisine, and relaxing atmosphere, too!

Meet our horses…

We have a horse to suit every rider – from traditional French Mérens horses to thoroughbreds.

Here are a few of them:

Hope – An Arab/Mérens cross standing at 14.3hh. A beautiful horse with a wonderful character.

Ursala – A beautiful Heinz standing at 14.3hh. A safe, comfortable, and kind horse.

Rocco – A Portuguese standing at 15hh. Bags of character and a sense of fun, but a safe ride.

Chico – An Andalucian standing at 16hh. One of our most popular horses, who loves our visitors.

Atila – A Lusitanian standing at 16.3hh. Likes to show off skills in dressage.

Nao – A Mérens standing at 15hh. A sensible and comfortable horse.

Would you like to book a place in our intensive training week? It’s worth doing so soon – they tend to go quickly. You can contact us here.

Meet the MĂ©rens, a horse with a unique place in French history

French riding holidays
Our MĂ©rens horse Mollie.

If you’re looking to ride a sure-footed, hardy, and docile horse, look no further than a Mérens.

Also known as Ariégeois ponies or Cheval de Mérens, the small horses are native to the Ariégeois and Pyrenees mountains of the south of France.

Always black, the MĂ©rens can either be a small and traditional mountain horse, or a taller, more modern horse.

They were often used for farming and as pack horses because of their superior endurance, and were traditionally taken on a summer migration higher into the mountains – a practice which is being revived in the area.

Now, MĂ©rens horses are used primarily for riding and carriage driving.

The breed standard says a MĂ©rens should have an ideal height of 14.1 to 15.1 hands and a weigh 400kg to 500kg.

Their black coats can take on a ruddy tinge in the winter and foals can be born silver-grey, black, or coffee-coloured. Their coats become black as they grow.

Some may have small, white markings on their face.

 

Thousands of years of MĂ©rens history

The MĂ©rens breed is thought to have originated in prehistoric times, either from Iberian horses or Oriental horses brought to the area by settlers coming from the east.

There are records of small black horses in the area which go back to the time of the Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.

They have been associated with famous historic figures include Charlemagne and Napoleon Bonaparte. They pulled the artillery used by Napoleon’s Grand Army in its Russian campaign.

Smugglers used these horses to haul their ill-gotten gains through the Pyrenees, they were used by miners, and at the end of the 19th Century they had become known as light cavalry horses.

Widespread cross-breeding had led to decline in the pure-bred population. So, in 1908 a local agricultural society too charge of the breed, creating a registry in 1933 and a stud book in 1948 under the control of the French National Stud.

As machines replaced horses in French agriculture, the population declined disastrously, putting the breed on the verge of extinction in the 1970s.

Then, there were just 40 pure-breed MĂ©rens horses registered with the stud book and a reported 2,000 animals of MĂ©rens descent.

 

How hippies saved the breed

Hippies looking to escape the rat race and become self-sufficient discovered the breed when they moved to the Ariège mountains.

They resettled areas which had become depopulated and brought a welcome boost to the local economy.

They also started MĂ©rens breeding programmes, just at the time there was a resurgence in interest in riding during the mid-1970s.

Many MĂ©rens horses are descended from a semi-feral horse called Bonbon who was orphaned by an accident and raised on goat milk, returning later in life to his herd in the mountains as a prize stallion.

Numbers recovered to a reported 4,000 animals in 1985 and there are 600 pure-bred horses now in the stud book. There are now around 500 births every year.

One genetic study in 2008 however, still considered the traditional MĂ©rens an at-risk breed.

The breed has become more and more popular. In fact, French magazine Cheval Pratique ranked the MĂ©rens one of the 23 most beautiful horse breeds.

There are now MĂ©rens horses registered in Italy and Belgium, and some are reported in Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, India, and Tunisia.

In 1998, the French National Stud reclassified the MĂ©rens as horses rather than ponies.

 

Our MĂ©rens horses, half-sisters Nao and Mollie, are beautiful examples of the breed.

Both are docile and sure-footed – and ready to meet you!

Find out more about our horses here.

Are you ready to book your next French riding holiday? Book here.

 

Two Upcoming Events for Riders

Own Your Own Horse Week – 27 May

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Do you ride regularly but not actually own your own horse?  Is it your dream or are you just curious as to what’s involved?  Well for week commencing Saturday 27 May you can make that dream come true for a week.  Take this opportunity to experience horse ownership in the most ideal surroundings with the reassurance that there is a knowledgeable team on hand to help if needed. Own a horse week enables you to to be as hands on with your four legged friend as you wish to find out what it’s really like to have a horse of your own.  img_20160503_084405

 

 

 

Training Week – 16 September

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Last year’s training week was a real success and we were asked to think about another one this year.  Well we did and scheduled it in for the beginning of May – it was full almost as soon as we advertised it and there has been interest shown in another one being added.  We have looked at the diary and can now say that we will offer this for week beginning Saturday 16 September.  If you’re interested do get in touch asap.

Some people mentioned that they were a little worried by the phrase ‘Intensive Training’ as they thought it meant it was only for very experienced riders so let me put your mind at rest over this because that really isn’t the case at all.  It’s more of a usual week with the opportunity to do extra training – riding, horse care, bonding with your horse or whatever you have problems with or want to do more of.  It’s for riders of all levels – horse owners or not – and as with all of our rides it’s tailored to you.  There is the usual morning ride then as an addition in the afternoons Tanya can help you to work on any issues that you would like help with.  She will talk everything over with the whole group at the beginning of the week and work out a program that fits and can be worked on through the week.  11870817_1787696334790436_6895041293615577366_n

Meet the new guys in the team

Just to bring you up to date, we’ve been busy around the country adding new members to the team for this year.  Here goes –

Some of you will already have met our first arrival who came in September last year but for those of you who came earlier in the year meet Atila taking his first look around at his new home as he came out of the box

DSCF6578He travelled well and was very calm after his journey of around three hours.  Off to his paddock for a rest and then hopefully ready for a light workout in the school tomorrow.

DSCF6660He took it all in his stride and he and Tanya got on very well together

Love this guy-Tanya & AtilaWhat a star and Tanya’s face says ‘I just love this guy!’

He’s gone on from here and they have competed very successfully in several dressage competitions through the winter season.  He’s up and going and ready to accompany rides this summer.

Our second new arrival came just before Christmas.  Tanya and Chris set off at 5.00am with the trailer for what ended up as a 15hr trip to see a very big boy to join the team, namely a Normandy Cob.  During this epic journey they passed through the volcanic mountains of the Massif Central and here is one of the shots that Tanya took from the motorway

JpegWhen they finally got home it was too dark for photos so here he is saying good morning to Atila over the fence this morning – Tonnerre.

2It’s quite amazing what a big horse can do – here’s Chris mounted for the first time in ages and out enjoying time with Tonnerre after only a few days of getting to know him.  He’s settled in really well and is now waiting to meet you all soon.

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For number three we all set off for the day on a trip to look at several horses that we had seen.  Sun was shining and a lovely lunch followed by finally seeing a really beautiful girl.  Having ridden her and talked over Tanya and Chris set off next day yet again with trailer and when they got back Ursala had arrived.

DSCF7203Out of the trailer and looking around

DSCF7214Starting to fit in with the team working with Chloe

DSCF7319These new guys are now getting along very well with the existing team and as usual everyone is looking forward to seeing you all very soon

Don’t Miss This Offer!! There is still some availability in May

The pound is at present getting even stronger so we can pass on some great savings to you for the limited availability we still have in May.

The weather is getting better by the day – May is a really great month for riding here and the countryside for our riding is truly wonderful. You can now ride every day if you want to and the relaxing side of your stay with us is as good as ever.

So come on do it now before it’s too late! Send an email with your dates and we will come straight back

There's a horse in the stables just waiting for you
There’s a horse in the stables just waiting for you

Great Offers for April and May

With the pound so strong against the weak euro now is a very good time to book a Riding Holiday in France.

The strong pound against the euro means cheaper air fares and cheaper fuel if you prefer to drive.

 

Above all this means that you can make some great savings on your holiday price with us here at Chateau de Laumiere because by passing the savings we make on this advantageous exchange rate to you we can offer some really good deals for April and May bookings.

 

Don’t wait too long to contact us by email or telephone with your April or May dates to check availability and see what savings you can make on a super relaxing riding break in the sun

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